Tips For Bringing Your Child To Work
Whether you’re entering a new chapter of your life in which you’ll be bringing your child to work every day for months, or you’re just bringing your child along for a day or two, there are a few tips that will help this transaction go more smoothly for both you and your little one. You might be worried that you won’t get enough work done, because your child will distract you. Or you could worry that you will get plenty of work done, but because you neglect your child. You also probably have some concerns about your child aggravating some of your coworkers, playing with things he isn’t supposed to, and making a mess. A workplace isn’t generally a child-friendly environment, nor is a child really suited to be around grownups trying to focus, but you can rig things. Here are tips for bringing your child to work.
Look for hazards
Before bringing your child to work, walk around your office and look for hazards. These could range from rooms full of sharp office supplies or toxic cleaning products, heavy swinging doors, and unprotected staircases. You’ll need to child-proof the office, just like you would your home.
Designate a place for him to hang out
Designate an area that can be your child’s play area. Your kid just wants to feel like he has a place where he is allowed to be, and doesn’t need to worry about his behavior. It doesn’t have to be big—it could be one corner of your cubicle or one couch.
Let your coworkers know in advance
Don’t take your coworkers by surprise. More often than not, your coworkers will be fine with your bringing your child to work if you simply run it by them, first. In fact, having a child around can be a refreshing change for some colleagues. But people don’t like to feel like you just assumed you could bring your child, without asking.
Bring things to help him nap
Naptime is a working parent’s savior. So bring your child’s favorite relaxing music and headphones, his blanket, his stuffed animal, and possibly his portable toddler bed if you have a little one.
Bring his (quiet) toys
Bring plenty of entertainment. Just make sure you don’t pack the toys that make a lot of noise. Coloring books and interactive games are great. And, obviously, if your child has homework, pack that.
Hang near a coworker you know likes kids
If you can, work near a co-worker who you know likes kids or even has kids. The sound of a child giggling and asking questions can be a nuisance to some people, but music to the ears of others.
Ask about special events/busy days
Ask your boss if there will be any days when the office will be a particularly hectic place, and hire a babysitter for those days. Your boss won’t think to tell you about these on her own, because she isn’t looking at the work schedule from the eyes of a mother.
Try to work somewhere private
If you can secure a quiet, private space to work, do so. The less your child can see happening in the workplace, the less likely he’ll be to wander off and get into trouble. See if there will be any unused conference rooms on the days you’ll have your child with you.
Get your little one to help
Children like to feel like they’re of use, and they love copying grownups. So ask your child to help with some safe tasks, like organizing papers or wiping down desks. Offer him a little reward for doing this. Your colleagues will be happy that your child is there if he’s emptying their trash bins.
Schedule calls/meetings during naptime
Schedule calls, meetings, or any other activities that require you to talk to your colleagues, during your child’s nap time. It’s okay if your kid interrupts you when you’re just working on your computer, but he shouldn’t interrupt you when you’re in a meeting.
Bring his comfort items
Kids like routine and familiar surroundings, so pack your child’s comfort items. Bring the little rug from his bedroom, maybe his beanbag chair, or even some of the paintings from his room.
Tell him when he can have your attention
Let your child know that in 15 minutes, or 25 minutes, he can have your attention. Often children just become anxious because they just don’t know when they can get your attention again.
Bring a Tablet
A tablet is a life saver. If you’ve needed a reason to invest in one, now is the time. You can preload your child’s favorite TV shows, movies, games, and music. A child can get lost in a tablet for hours.
Take him for walks
Your child isn’t used to being indoors all day like you are, so take him for walks periodically throughout the day. If you bring his bicycle, roller skates or scooter, he can get out some energy during your lunch break.
Help the other parents
Team up with the other parents at work. Start an email thread, notifying each other of who has meetings and needs help from the other parents. Coordinate who is bringing what toys and snacks. You can have each other’s backs, so you don’t’ bother the other coworkers.